A multi-disciplinary designer’s journey in field recording, sound design, and music.

Hard Drive Guts

Posted: April 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: found sound objects, sound design
Hard Drive Guts

I'm killing this platter slowly with a screwdriver, and it never sounded so good.

Nothing puts Moore’s Law in perspective like ripping an 80 gigabyte hard drive out of an enclosure and swapping with a 2 terabyte drive. 80GB isn’t even big enough to act as a Photoshop scratch disk in 2010.

It’s not new ground by any means, but I did get some pretty interesting results, ranging from IDM-like chirps and squeaks to all sorts of weird drive vocalizations when I slowed the platter down with a screwdriver – much to my surprise, the damn thing came to a stop, jittered around, and then spun right back up again. Most of the sounds were pretty subtle (perfect for the MKH 50), surprisingly, but with lots of surprises. [I shot video of the whole thing, a still of which can be seen above, but really, a hard drive spinning is not that interesting. Trust me on this one.]

I had a great time until Chuck Russom suggested on Twitter what might happen if the 7200rpm drive would have come loose…

These sounds have only been normalized and no sound processing has been applied.


[Sennheiser MKH 50 microphone into Sound Devices 702 recorder]

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